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ASX sheds $50b as investors spook on coronavirus fears

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The ASX 200 has fallen 163.1 points or 2.34 per cent as investors worry the coronavirus epidemic will halt global trade.

The Australian stock market shed almost $50 billion worth of value as it opened as investors spook over concerns the coronavirus outbreak will bring commodities trading to a halt.

As of 10:15 AEDT, the ASX 200 had fallen 163.1 points or 2.34 per cent, continuing the bloodbath as billions were shed off the local market yesterday.

Yesterday the market lost $60 billion, marking its worst day in six months.

The Aussie dollar is also feeling the effects of a global market exodus, down to 66.01 US Cents as of 10:15 AEDT.

The last time the Aussie dollar was trading this low was in 2009 as the repercussions of the Global Financial Crisis caused investors to shy away from investing in foreign currency.


Yesterday more than $1.5 trillion was wiped off the global economy as investors pulled their cash from volatile markets and pushed it into traditional "safe havens" such as gold.

Investors are worried about the coronavirus outbreak – not because they are moral pundits wishing for world health – but because a disease pandemic means trade is restricted.

Australia is currently one of the biggest exporters of iron ore and coal to China. It's estimated just shipping iron ore to China is worth $120 billion a year to Australian businesses.

An outbreak of a disease like coronavirus puts ship captains on docks, closes ports, ceases truck delivery routes and effectively puts a stop jamb in the rive of money from Aussie mines to Chinese manufacturers.

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread was deeply concerning but it was not yet a pandemic.

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For now, it was not an uncontained global spread with large-scale severe disease or deaths, he said.

"Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet", he said on Monday.

The oil price tumbled nearly 4.0 per cent as investors rushed to dump shares and growth assets and park their money in gold, the go-to metal in times of financial concern.

CMC Markets and Stockbroking chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said share markets had finally moved into line with other markets after many were at record highs despite warning signs.

The disruption to supply chains if countries closed borders to contain outbreaks could see global trade grind to a halt, Mr McCarthy said.

Source: 9News

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